David Jones was born in Brockley, Kent. His father, originally from Flintshire, Wales, ensured he was deeply conscious of his heritage. Jones fought on the Somme during World War I and the sights and experiences of the war were to colour much of his life.
In 1909 aged 14, he entered Camberwell Art School where he also studied English Literature. Jones served on the Western Front from 1915 – 1918 with the 38th (Welsh) Division. He served longer at the front than any other British war writer, and the toll of the experience was to affect his health for the rest of his life.
In 1921 he converted to Roman Catholicism, and visited Eric Gill in Ditchling. In 1922 he moved here to join the workshops and was introduced to wood engraving. He produced many of the illustrations used in the St Dominic’s Press publications, placing image alongside the printed word with great sensitivity.
Though engaged to Gill’s second daughter Petra in 1923, they never married. Jones left Ditchling in 1924 and went to London, but then followed Gill to Capel-y-ffin in Wales, living there until Gill’s departure 1928.
For a time he joined the 7&5 Society, alongside Ben and Winifred Nicholson and Christopher Wood. In addition to painting and printmaking, Jones wrote extensively. He returned to the subject of war in two major poems: ‘In Parenthesis’ and ‘The Anathemata’.